Saturday, October 30, 2010

it's a great day to get cooking


i finally got to cook today: yay!

i know i've mentioned before how i hesitate to cook these days, because i always feel like i'm in the way.
well, over the last few days i've really been resenting that
and i decided to heck with it
i live here
i'll cook if i want to, dammit!

this became even more an anthem this afternoon as i discovered that my olive oil was completely empty
(not because i'd used it...)
and i called anthony to vent 
that i hate feeling like i'm in the way, that i'm annoyed that my stuff (even though labeled) is used without asking, that i sometimes just hate living like this
bless him, he listened
and really, all i needed to do was be mad for a few minutes

i came back home and headed straight for the kitchen
take two, with olive oil this time
and i made my tomato soup, my chicken salad, and reorganized and labeled my part of the pantry
i set a pandora station for worship music
and i even chatted with the nurse who is here today

and i was blissful
:0)

i came back downstairs and went outside to my herb containers
i'd discovered earlier today that some of them had revived
so i bought a few replacements while i was out getting the olive oil
and i dug in the dirt a little and planted the new additions

and i was blissful

and now i'm sitting on my couch
watching tv
blogging
and sipping iced coffee with bailey's creamer in it

and i am blissful

no, things are NOT perfect here
but truthfully, things are never perfect.

and one thing is for sure:
i'm not going to be kept out of the kitchen anymore
as long as i'm not trying to cook while one of the nurses is also cooking for anthony's grandpa
i'm not in the way
and if the nurses don't want to share space
that's not my concern -- they can move to another room for awhile
because i live here too

and dangit, i want to cook! 
 

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Fitness Friday: revolution

last year i discovered jamie oliver on a whole new level
 
i'm not sure how many of you watched his show but it was amazing.  and now food revolution has grown to be even more. his commitment to promoting healthier choices in cafeterias across the united states is astounding, and i fully support his efforts.  after all, it won't be too long before i will have children eating in a school cafeteria...i consider my attention to this issue NOW as an investment in their future.

(plus, as an educator, it'd be nice to have the option to walk into the school cafeteria from time to time and get a well-balanced lunch when i didn't have the time or energy to pack one.  i'm speaking in the nearer future for that one...God willing)

today's fitness friday is a little different -- i'm letting someone else do the talking.  a fairly famous someone else, and someone who most certainly doesn't even know this blog exists.  yep, i copied and pasted straight from his website...you can find the direct link to what i grabbed right here.

his philosophy so embodies how i feel about food, and i'll remind myself of that the next time i feel a bit guilty for eating a meal of comfort food :0)

Food philosophy


My philosophy to food and healthy eating has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced, and sane way. Food is one of life's greatest joys yet we've reached this really sad point where we're turning food into the enemy, and something to be afraid of. I believe that when you use good ingredients to make pasta dishes, salads, stews, burgers, grilled vegetables, fruit salads, and even outrageous cakes, they all have a place in our diets. We just need to rediscover our common sense: if you want to curl up and eat macaroni and cheese every once in a while – that's alright! Just have a sensible portion next to a fresh salad, and don't eat a big old helping of chocolate cake afterwards.

Knowing how to cook means you'll be able to turn all sorts of fresh ingredients into meals when they're in season, at their best, and cheapest! Cooking this way will always be cheaper than buying processed food, not to mention better for you. And because you'll be cooking a variety of lovely things, you'll naturally start to find a sensible balance. Some days you'll feel like making something light, and fresh, other days you'll want something warming and hearty. If you've got to snack between meals, try to go for something healthy rather than loading up on chocolate or potato crisps. Basically, as long as we all recognize that treats should be treats, not a daily occurrence, we'll be in a good place. So when I talk about having a 'healthy' approach to food, and eating better I'm talking about achieving that sense of balance: lots of the good stuff, loads of variety, and the odd indulgence every now and then. 
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(and jamie ;)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday's Ten: yummy!

for a myriad of reasons and new convictions, i'm choosing not to observe october 31st this year as anything other than a sunday where i will be together with friends eating, laughing and (yes) watching a couple of movies.  one will be "scary" but does not in any way glorify the day we aren't observing.

i realize this is kind of a polar opposite switch from my stance on the day last year...but i am kind of wrestling through some things and how i want to live my life.  so while i reluctantly participated in the trunk or treat at my church last weekend, will be watching a couple of thriller movies this weekend (which is find to me only because they are thrillers and not specifically about the day), and bought some obligatory candy to eat i will not be observing the date until further notice.

i'll be happy to explain, although all i have right now is how i feel.  and i'm certainly not going to tell anyone else what to do or tell people they can't enjoy the day or celebrate. 

it's just not for me.

i'll be happy to share more in depth what has led me to my non-observance this year if you like...although honestly right now it has more to do with feeling convicted about it than anything else.  i'll be doing research and a whole lot of praying before (a) next year and *definitely* before (b) we have children.

so, i'm not doing a theme this week about costumes or trick or treating or anything else specifically linked to the day...

but i think it's still fun.

what are your 10 favorite...


candies?

here's mine, in no particular order
1. starburst







2. skittles
3. milk duds
4. milky way
5. reese's pieces
6. butterfinger
7. 3 muskateers
8. heath bar
9. bit o honey
10. kit kat/twix










join me in my virtual sugar rush?
:0)



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Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday's Memory: the one with the pink bracelet


i look at this picture and see details
the pink bracelet on my wrist was worn in support of one of the ladies on our retreat that weekend who was fighting breast cancer
(she passed them out.  and she actually took this picture)
3 years later, she’s cancer free
though her life, i'm certain, is forever changed

i am standing next to one of my best friends
lajuana
and we’re in front of gorgeous tennessee fall splendor
she’s in another state now
and while we are still close
things are forever changed

and i remember our conversation that day
when i told her that on one hand, i never wanted to date
never wanted to get married
and on the other i was terrified that i wasn’t “good enough” for anyone
and that i would always be alone
(the first being a direct result and coping mechanism of the second, of course)
and 3 years later
i have the most amazing and Godly man in my life
and of course i want to get married, and be with him for the rest of my life
things are forever changed

i could write about a lot of things that have “forever changed” in the last 3 years
or the last 3 months
or the last 3 weeks
or the last 3 days
you get the picture

that’s something we’re all aware of, isn’t it? 
change.
the only thing that’s constant in our world.
(it's cliche...but it's cliche for a reason)

i've learned to embrace it
to enjoy it
to learn and grow through it

one of my favorite pieces of d├ęcor
(which i need to find: note to self)
is a little pillow i hung from the stairs at my condo
and now will hang on the stairs of my “right now” residence

it says “delight in the unexpected”
and i delight to tell you
that i do.

no, it’s not all easy
i mean, come on.
 
but learning that i'm not in control -- He is
it’s been the most freeing knowledge of my life.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

it's a great day to hike, etc



today is one of those days that i'm going to relish
(funny word, relish.  hmmm)
but yes.  i'll relish every moment
from sleeping in
to NOT teaching a lesson
to hiking at radnor lake with my love
to babysitting for a couple of my favorite kids
(who am i kidding -- i have a LOT of favorites) 

so all i have to say is:
allergies be darned...i'm hiking today!

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Fitness Friday: to run or not to run?

i've never been much of a runner
i walk pretty fast, so i was able to get 5K times of around 45 minutes when i walked the entire thing

but earlier this year i started running more during my 5K's (maybe 1/2 mile total, but still) and started noticing that i began getting 42 and 40 minute times.

i determined to run an entire 5K soon, and even put it on my "30 before 30" list
(even though my yoga teacher had always said it's bad for your back/knees/etc)

and then
april hit
and after moving me into my new environment
i had a major asthma attack that put me in the ER and required an overnight hospital stay

and i became terrified to run
it took a long time for me to go out for a walk even
and the first time i went hiking i thought i was going to die

that childhood asthma i thought i had outgrown
had come back stronger than ever

but now that it's been a few months and i've done a couple of semi-serious hikes and a nice little 3 mile hike last weekend
i've decided something

next weekend is the 1 year anniversary of my very first 5K
and i'm doing it again

last year i kind of strolled through, simply happy to be out and moving

this year, i WILL run at least half of it

so i've started what many of you have been doing for awhile
the couch to 5K program is what many of you have done
i've chosen a similar program: 5K 101 
simply because it has a free podcast you can download that tells you what to do when.  easy!

today is only my 2nd workout, which means i will only be 2 weeks into it when i do the 5K
but still
i am fairly certain i'll be able to handle it
if nothing else, i'll plug my headphones in and start the training podcast i'm on...

i'll let you know how it goes :)


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday's Ten: questions for my readers

today is all about interaction!  i'd love it if you message me or comment with your answers to any (and all!) of the following questions :0)





1.  how do you feel about blog rolls?  i just realized the other day that i haven't updated mine in probably 6 months or so, and there are blogs on it that don't even exist anymore!
2.  if you have a positive opinion about blog rolls, would you please message me (msmsctchr@gmail.com) or comment if you'd like to be added to mine?  because i totally need to update/purge/replace it!
3.  what are your favorite sorts of posts to read?  do you like day-to-day posts, recipes, memes, weekly regular features, or those crazy spiritual rants i go on? ;)
4.  what would you like to see more of?
5.  what would you like to see less of?
6.  i won't be taking my tunes off...but would you rather it not start autoplaying when you open the page?  i have moved it to the side so that it's a bit more accessible to turn off if you don't want the music...
but i'll do what majority desires :0)
7.  would you like to guest post here sometime?  if so, let's chat!
8.  what "tab" should i add at the top?  i'd love some ideas!
9.  is there any post of mine that you particularly remember for some reason?  tell me about it :)
10.  and finally...what animal do i remind you of?  or what Bible character...and why?




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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

wishing on wednesday

  one of my favorite bloggers does a regular feature that i love...today i'm joining her for the first time!


so, here's what i'm wishful for.  and because i saw a theme with the first couple, i'm just making it a theme :0)

a food processor, a kitchenaid mixer (red please), a cute apron, one of those awesome choppers from williams-sonoma, pampered chef batter bowls and pizza stone.

i'm thinking some of these will be on a wedding registry one of these days ;-) but i may have to get the food processor pronto :0)








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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

so here's the post where i pretend i've not been gone forever

i know, i know.  i posted one week, was gone the entire next week, and came back again for a monday's memory like nothing had happened.

i'm resisting the urge to say "well, it's MY blog" right now.  
(actually, since i just typed that i suppose i didn't really *resist* that urge)
but the truth is last week was crazy busy with extra babysitting jobs and getting tax prep stuff done
(yep, i waited until the last possible moment of the extension...i'm betting if you were in my shoes you would as well)

and this week...i had a fantastic and wonderful surprise
it's fall break
for all the kids in this area
and for ME TOO!

because F's parents are teachers
i don't have him this week
and because all of my piano/voice students are metro students
for a myriad of reasons
every.single.one of them canceled this week's lesson

and bonus: i have babysitting jobs scheduled tomorrow, thursday and friday afternoons...friday night and saturday.  so i'll still be making monies, just in fewer days :)

and my google reader?  it's at a big fat ZERO right now
and i'm about to share my secret with you
it's been an amazing discovery for me

the next button

if you don't know about it, you should
because sometimes i read a post in google reader
and don't bother to click over to comment

and with the next button
no, i don't always comment
but i'm right.there if i want to
so it totally saves a step!

so how to find this elusive "next" button?

1.  open google reader
2.  go to "settings" and choose "reader settings" from the menu that will drop down
3.  open the tab that says "goodies"
4.  scroll down until you see this:
5.  follow those instructions
6.  start clicking "next"!

i have a button in my browser for "reader" so that i can easily click back over when i want...and i've made a couple of "next" buttons for specific tags that i want to read before everything else.

and BONUS: i just discovered that if you scroll down a bit on the "goodies" page there's a way to subscribe from your toolbar as well!  i just did it. 

thank you, google, for making my life infinitely easier!


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recipe of the week: copycat scones

my friend natasha and i have been enjoying fall at starbucks
you see, on our road trip to arkansas we discovered that they had these a.m.a.z.i.n.g pumpkin scones

and we loved them
(they compliment pumpkin spice lattes quite well.  just in case you're wondering)

but, as you may have heard, starbucks
is a *little* expensive
so after our 2nd scone of the season
natasha ran across this little recipe

it's a copycat scone recipe
and while our version isn't as PRETTY as the starbucks version
it also cost us about 2 times the price of one of their scones to make 6 large or 24 mini scones
plus our version used all natural and organic ingredients from trader joe's
so it's better :)

so...there you go

i've simplified the recipe a little (we use pumpkin pie spice in place of the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves the original recipe called for) and made it a little easier to understand (we stared at the recipe for several minutes the first time while we tried to figure out how they wanted us to cut the scones.  once we figured it out, we said "ok, we can do better than THAT"

one note: this recipe is actually 3 in one.  i'm listing the scones first, then the glazes.  whatever you do, take the time to make the glazes!  it means that you'll be waiting about 2 hours after they are done to enjoy them but it is SO worth it!

scones

2 cups flour
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons half and half
1 egg

preheat oven to 425゜F.  lightly use butter to grease a pan/cookie sheet (we changed that from using oil. we figured it would be better to have buttered scones than oiled.  don't you?)

* combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices) in a large bowl.  using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious.
(that is the hardest part, if you have only a fork.  i'm totally asking for a food processor for christmas.  or buying it myself first.  :)
* in a separate bowl whisk together pumpkin, half and half and egg.
fold wet ingredients into dry.  form the dough into a ball
* pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a rectangle approximately 1 inch thick.  it will turn out to be about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide.  use a large knife or pizza cutter to slice the dough into 3 equal long strips (2 cuts from top to bottom, making each strip about an inch wide).
* for large scones, cut each of your 3 long strips diagonally in the center, making 6 equally sized scones total.
* for small scones, cut 8 triangles out of each strip of dough, making 24 total scones
(i'm not convinced i said that any better than the original recipe...hard to explain!)
* bake for 14 - 16 minutes, or until light brown.  place on wire rack to cool while you make the glazes



powdered sugar glaze

1 cup powdered sugar, plus 1 tablespoon 
2 tablespoon whole milk

* mix the powdered sugar and milk together until smooth
* when scones are cool, use a brush to paint the glaze over the top of each scone
* wait for the first glaze to firm up while making the spiced glaze
 
spiced glaze

1 cup powdered sugar, plus 3 additional tablespoons
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

combine ingredients, and then drizzle over each scone.  you can be all fancy with it, but it'll taste the same either way ;)

allow the icing to dry before serving...this will take about an hour.
(again, may i remind you that it's totally worth the wait)



enjoy!




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Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday's Memory: the one with hailey's birthday

anthony's littlest sister turned 13 shortly after we started dating
and anthony, his other sister kat, kat's boyfriend tony and i took her out for lunch to celebrate

which means she's 15 now
is that even possible??
yes.  yes, it is.


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Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's a great day to be at an awesome conference




just the wordle this week...i'll return to sws next week
i'm at an amazing conference this weekend where God is really moving, so while i've been posting (kind of -- yesterday's was scheduled) i haven't had a chance to keep up with many of your blogs.  i promise once i get back to "normal" i'll be back to visiting and commenting!!



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Friday, October 8, 2010

Fitness Friday: could it be??

in principle, i'm not a fan of fast food
in practice, however...

i head through the drive-thru more often than i'd prefer
simply because fast food is just.that
fast!
and easy...

i found this article from fitness magazine that gives a few tips and tricks for getting through the drive-thru windows of kfc, mcdonalds, taco bell, wendy's and pizza hut.

great.  the only one of those restaurants i come close to frequenting is mcdonalds.
(they have the best.drinks.ever)

so i looked around a little more and found this article on helpguide.org
it's a little more generic, and common sensical.  it breaks down the CATEGORY of restaurant (burger joint, taco place, chicken, pizzeria, sub shop, etc) and gives you a guide to less healthy and more healthy options.

bottom line: should you (or i) be eating fast food on a daily basis?
absolutely not
however, on those occasions where it's more convenient to drive to dinner...at least make health(ier) choices!
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday's Ten: a more positive spin

as i typed in response to a comment last night, yesterday's post was published to remind myself as much as anyone that while i choose joy most days, some days are meant for sadness...and that's actually a healthy response as long as i don't wallow in it!

but i like joy.

don't we all?

and so today's list is going to be things that make my heart sing.  things that take me out of the sadness momentarily, and lift me to a higher place.  and some of them may be a surprise...others, probably not.




1.  car rides with friends
there's something about a trip, whether 10 minutes or 10 hours, that opens up conversation in a way that sitting over a cup of coffee or meeting at a movie theater won't do.  maybe it's the sunlight tickling the corners of the car and shedding light on life itself.  maybe it's that moment when darkness has descended on the day and you feel safe to talk about what's real.  i find that those conversations often continue out of the car and onto my couch...and it's a blessed time.

2.  knowing i am loved
i have a Godly man who reminds me of that multiple times daily.  i have his family who not only say it...they show it.  i have my family who loves me in the best way they can.  i have church familIES who minister to my spirit and soul.  i have friends who will drop everything just to be with me.  and i have perfect strangers who have prophesied words of love and grace over me.
those are just a few examples...and they are all reflections of the Father's love

3.  a baby
i told a lady in class tonight "you don't have to operate in the prophetic to know that i'm drawn to babies!"  and it's true.  there's something about snuggling a little one close...something about hearing those giggles (or in finn's case, those fake coughs!), something about the innocence and trust.  i love reading a book, snuggling in, and putting a baby to bed.  there's something so tender and wonderful about those moments -- i consider them sacred.  
and as much as i've loved on everyone else's babes, i am so ready for the day when i rock my own little one before bedtime.

4.  emi
the last few months have made her even sweeter.  i feel like she "checks" on me now -- jumping up on the bed or couch with me when i walk in the door, sometimes even jumping into my lap.  she's never been overly affectionate, so i love those moments

5.  hot coffee
it's been so chilly here lately, and coffee just warms my insides and makes me feel...comfortable.  at rest.

6.  hiking
i haven't done it much lately, and i need to.  sometimes a walk in pure creation, conquering a steep ridge, or just crunching leaves underfoot in a forest is exactly the recharge i need.

7.  the prophetic
i don't pretend to understand it all, and i'm certainly no expert...but going to this class has really highlighted my gifts and given me reassurance and affirmation about areas of my life and personality that i had always questioned.  it's been such an encouragement...and honestly last night's class was the very thing that lifted me -- at least for awhile -- out of the funk i had been in

8.  words
reading your blogs -- they make me laugh, cry, think.  
writing in my own -- it gives me a voice, and stretches me to be more authentic and transparent.  
words like "restore" "refresh" "renew"... they give me hope.

9.  ethnic foods
i'm a fan of thai in particular...but going to experience the food of another region of the world is somehow enlightening to me.  i don't know -- there's something about the experience that reminds me to treat each day as a new adventure.  maybe that's a stretch or corny or something...but i somehow relate the two

10.  music
of course.  it's my language.  it's how i felt God speaking long before i ever realized that He actually does speak.  it's how i've learned to speak back to Him...long before i ever knew that He cared about what i had to say.  and so it's special.  it's amazing.  and i never go through a day without it, in some way, shape or form.

will you join me in sharing what brings you joy?  if you post something on your blog, will you let me know so i can read it?  if you don't post it on your blog...will you share it in a comment?  i think sharing these things will make God smile today...and it'll certainly make ME smile!
:-)




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